2021 is going to be an insane year. I’ve never had SO MANY books I was looking forward to. I’ve cherry picked some of my absolute favourites for this list, but you can also view all 107 of my added books.
Series: Wells of Sorcery #3
Published by: Tor Teen on February 8, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Pirates
Siege of Rage and Ruin is the explosive final adventure in Django Wexler's The Wells of Sorcery trilogy, an action-packed epic fantasy saga.
Isoka has done the impossible—she’s captured the ghost ship Soliton.
With her crew of mage-bloods, including the love of her life Princess Meroe, Isoka returns to the empire that sent her on her deadly mission. She’s ready to hand over the ghost ship as ransom for her sister Tori’s life, but arrives to find her home city under siege. And Tori at the helm of a rebellion.
Neither Isoka’s mastery of combat magic, nor Tori’s proficiency with mind control, could have prepared them for the feelings their reunion surfaces. But they’re soon drawn back into the rebels’ fight to free the city that almost killed them.
Ship of Smoke and Steel (book one in this series) was my first book by Django Wexler and I adored it. Book two also did not disappoint. This series is awesome and I’m looking forward to the conclusion!
Published by: Swoon Reads on February 16, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, War & Military
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As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor's explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus.
In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.
Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.
When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.
I’m sorry… the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves. Why does this excite me so much?!?!
I’ve included a purchase link for River Bend Bookshop above. All pre-orders through River Bend Bookshop will be signed and include a character art print.
Series: Blood Heir Trilogy #2
Published by: HarperCollins on March 4, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Fans of Children of Blood and Bone will love the sequel to Blood Heir. The second book in an epic fantasy series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to liberate her empire from a dark reign.
Ana Mikhailov is the only surviving member of the royal family of Cyrilia. She has no army, no title, and no allies, and now she must find a way to take back the throne or risk the brutal retribution of the empress. Morganya is determined to establish a new world order on the spilled blood of non-Affinites. Ana is certain that Morganya won't stop until she kills them all.
Ana's only chance at navigating the dangerous world of her homeland means partnering with Ramson Quicktongue again. But the cunning crime lord has schemes of his own. For Ana to find an army, they must cross the Whitewaves to the impenetrable stone forts of Bregon. Only, no one can be certain what they will find there.
A dark power has risen. Will revolution bring peace - or will it only paint the streets in more blood.
I looooved Blood Heir and I’m excited for the next book. I probably won’t read it right away because I want to wait for the trilogy to be complete, but I’ll definitely be preordering a copy!
Series: A Trial of Sorcerers #1
Published by: Self Published on March 4, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Ice is in her blood.
Eighteen-year-old Waterrunner Eira Landan lives her life in the shadows — the shadow of her older brother, of her magic’s whispers, and of the person she accidentally killed. She’s the most unwanted apprentice in the Tower of Sorcerers until the day she decides to step out and compete for a spot in the Tournament of Five Kingdoms.
Pitted against the best sorcerers in the Empire, Eira fights to be one of four champions. Excelling in the trials has its rewards. She’s invited to the royal court with the “Prince of the Tower,” discovers her rare talent for forbidden magic, and at midnight, Eira meets with a handsome elfin ambassador.
But, Eira soon learns, no reward is without risk. As she comes into the spotlight, so too do the skeletons of a past she hadn’t even realized was haunting her.
Eira went into the trials ready for a fight. Ready to win. She wasn’t ready for what it would cost her. No one expected the candidates might not make it out with their lives.
This is the first book in a young adult, epic fantasy that’s a tale of competition, coming of age, distant lands, elemental magic, and romance. It’s perfect for fans of The Legend of Korra, Truthwitch, and A Sorcery of Thorns.
I’d been meaning to read Elise Kova’s books forever and in 2020 I finally read my first one—A Deal with the Elf King—and I adored it! I’m looking forward to reading more of her books and A Trial of Sorcerers sounds great!
Series: The Aurelian Cycle #2
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons on March 23, 2021
Genre: Dragons, Fantasy
Revolutionary flames ignite around Annie, Lee, and a brand new character in the follow-up to FIREBORNE.
After fleeing the revolution and settling into the craggy cliffs of New Pythos, the dragonlords are eager to punish their usurpers and reclaim their city. Their first order of business was destroying the Callipolan food supply. Now they're coming for the dragonriders.
Annie is Callipolis's new Firstrider, charged with leading the war against New Pythos. But with unrest at home, enforcing the government's rationing program risks turning her into public enemy number one.
Lee struggles to find his place after killing kin for a leader who betrayed him. He can support Annie and the other Guardians . . . or join the rebels who look to topple the new regime.
Griff, a lowborn dragonrider who serves New Pythos, knows he has no future. And now that Julia Stormscourge is no longer there to protect him, he is called on to sacrifice everything for the lords that oppress his people--or to forge a new path with the Callipolan Firstrider seeking his help.
With famine tearing Callipolis apart and the Pythians determined to take back what they lost, it will be up to Annie, Lee, and Griff to decide who--and what--to fight for.
Fireborne was one of my favourite reads in 2019 and I’m SO excited for the sequel! Dragons, but also very military-oriented. Your military might is determined by whether or not you have dragons.
Series: The Legacy of the Mercenary Kings #2
Published by: Gallery Books on March 23, 2021
The Hollows is gripped in unrest and on the brink of civil war as an insurgency of anarchists rise, and brother and sister vie for the throne in the second novel in the critically hailed Legacy of the Mercenary King series which Brandon Sanderson called “excellent.”
Michael Kingman thought he was going to die by the executioner’s axe, forever labeled as a traitor. Still alive, and under the protection of the Orbis Mercenary company, Michael and his family and friends are deeply involved in the seemingly rival conspiracies that are tearing The Hollows apart. With the death of the King, both the Corrupt Prince and his sister Serena are vying for the throne, while the Rebel Emperor is spreading lies amongst the people, and all of them want Michael dead. This is a story of betrayal, murder, and rebellion, and in this direct sequel to the debut novel The Kingdom of Liars, also some hope for justice.
For readers who love the intrigue and widening scope of epic fantasy like Sanderson’s Mistborn and Week’s The Black Prism, you will find your next must-read fantasy series.
This is the sequel to The Kingdom of Liars. The books are blurbed by Brandon Sanderson and compared to Mistborn, and I definitely agree with that comparison! I can’t wait for book two!
Series: Magic of the Lost #1
Published by: Orbit on March 23, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Military, Politics
In a political fantasy unlike any other, debut author C. L. Clark spins an epic tale of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire.
Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.
Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet's edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.
Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren't for sale.
THAT COVER! I want my arms to look like that. Political fantasy, rebellion, espionage, military, desert empire… This book sounds amazing! I’ve already preordered it!
Series: The Prison Healer #1
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton on April 1, 2021
At Zalindov, the only person you can trust is yourself.
Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan is a survivor. For ten years, she has worked as the healer in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, making herself indispensable. Kept afloat by messages of hope from her family, Kiva has one goal and one goal only: stay alive.
Then one day the infamous Rebel Queen arrives at the prison on death's door and Kiva receives a new message: Don't let her die. We are coming.
The queen is sentenced to the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals. Aware the sickly queen has little chance of making it through the Trials alive, Kiva volunteers to take her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.
But no one has ever survived.
And with an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva's heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can't escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.
From bestselling Australian author Lynette Noni comes a masterful and action-packed YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.
I’ve had my eye on The Prison Healer for a long time now. It sounds like a really interesting story! This will definitely be on my preorder list.
Series: These Feathered Flames #1
Published by: Inkyard Press on April 20, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
Two sisters. Separated by duty. One certain truth: magic always comes with a price. In the land of Tóurin, when twin heirs are born, one is raised to rule and the other becomes the next Firebird, a creature to ensure magic remains balanced.
While Izaveta remained at court, learning the lies and deception needed to survive, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious and deadly Firebird. But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power suddenly blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned. Asya returns to court for her sister’s coronation, only to feel the stirring of her first calling as the Firebird.
Now, she must navigate the unfamiliar territory of the royal courts, where friend and foe are often one and the same, to hunt down the person who used the forbidden magic. But not all is as it seems, for magic is dying in Tóurin, political schemes are in motion, and the two sisters will soon find how much their years apart have changed them both.
A retelling of a Russian folktale: The Firebird. It sounds amazing, and has a beautiful cover!
Series: The Goddess War #2
Published by: Orbit on April 22, 2021
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Sonya has brought a foreign army to free her country from imperial rule, but her allies may have other goals in the second book of this thrilling epic fantasy trilogy from Jon Skovron.
The first battle is over, but war yet looms on the horizon. Sonya and her allies - the foreign Uaine and their armies of the undead - have beaten back the imperial soldiers from the capital city. Now they have the rest of the country to free.
Meanwhile, her brother, the famed wizard Sebastian, has retreated with the imperial forces to regroup and lick his wounds. Betrayed by his sister and his wife, the beautiful noblewoman Galina, he will regain control of his life and his country at any cost.
The first book in this series, The Ranger of Marzanna doesn’t get the best reviews/ratings. I decided to read it anyway, and I ended up loving it! Sometimes it pays to trust a synopsis that pulls you in and ignore the reviews. (Not that those reviews are “wrong”, but that we can all have different opinions.)
I’m excited for book two—I’ve already preordered it!
Series: The Burning Kingdoms #1
Published by: Orbit on April 29, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne.
The other is a priestess searching for her family.
Together, they will change the fate of an empire.
Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of powerful magic - but is now little more than a decaying ruin.
Priya is a maidservant, one of several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to attend Malini's chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, as long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides. But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya's true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled . . .
I’m really into “empire” + “romance” books right now, and this one definitely fits that bill!
Series: Bladesmith #1
Published by: Feiwel & Friends on May 4, 2021
Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.
Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.
Four companions—a blacksmith, a mercenary, a scholar, and an aspiring warrior—set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.
Why are blacksmith books so appealing? For some reason, the idea of a blacksmith main character just excites me!
Series: Realm Breaker #1
Published by: Orion Books on May 4, 2021
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
- The main premise behind the story is this: What happens when the heroes fail at saving the day? Who’s the “JV team?” It’s about people who would have never considered themselves heroes but who have to “rise to the occasion.”
- The two main characters are teenagers. One is a squire and the other is a pirate’s daughter.
- The book’s world will most closely resemble the 12th- and 13th- centuries, based on the Mediterranean sphere. There will be multiple kingdoms.
- Aveyard is handmaking maps for the book.
- Realm Breaker is YA written in third-person with five points-of-view.
- Romance is present in the book, but it’s a “slow burn.” Aveyard said that adventure is at the heart of the story, rather than romance. “I was a little guilty of insta-love in Red Queen, and I know that.”
I consider this one a bit of a risk for me because while I loved Red Queen, I couldn’t finish Glass Sword and I heard the books just kept falling after that. But Realm Breaker sounds pretty awesome, so I’ll give it a shot.
Series: Ember of Night #1
Published by: Entangled Teen on May 4, 2021
Genre: Angels, Demons, Paranormal, Romance
Perfect for fans of Hush Hush, this epic angels-and-demons YA series combines all the best tropes of the genre: pulse-pounding romance, epic worldbuilding, and plenty of twists and turns.
There’s not a lot of information about this book yet, but I have my eye on it because I’ve been craving angel/demon books (especially since binge watching Lucifer).
Series: The Bloodsworn Saga #1
Published by: Orbit on May 6, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Mythology
Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.
After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrid.
Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave - or desperate - enough to seek them out.
Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.
All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods . . .
Norse-inspired? Sign me up! I’m hoping Goldsboro Books will do a special edition of this one. Fingers crossed!
Series: House of Dragons #2
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers on May 11, 2021
Genre: Action, Dragons, Fantasy
The dragon throne is a heavy burden. The empire is fractured, and an ancient horror looms. Once again, five outcasts will hear the call to battle. But are they ready for war? The stunning sequel to House of Dragons, this is Three Dark Crowns meets The Breakfast Club.
The Emperor's Trial is over. The dragon throne has been claimed--yet there is no peace to be had. For the first time in history, it is not one emperor who has taken power, but four. Although the young rulers seek to build a better world, there are many who oppose them. Tradition is broken, and so is Etrusia.
And while the empire crumbles, something dark awakens. Something that has waited centuries to unleash true calamity upon the world. Something only the emperors of Etrusia can hope to stop.
Once again, the outcasts will be challenged, but now they face a threat unlike any the world has ever seen. Because a Trial is one thing. War is something else entirely.
I loved House of Dragons so, so much! Definitely pick it up if you haven’t already.
Series: Rise of the Warlords #1
Published by: Harlequin on April 20, 2021
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
For centuries, Taliyah Skyhawk has prepared to become Harpy General, leader of the deadliest female army in existence. One of the requirements? Remain a virgin. But, for a chance to save her people, she must wed the fearless leader of the Astra Planeta, Alaroc Phaethon.
The time has come for Roc to sacrifice another virgin bride to his god. There has never been a woman alluring enough to tempt him from his path. No warrioress powerful enough to overcome his incredible strength. No enchantress desirable enough to make him burn beyond reason. Until now.
With the clock ticking, war between husband and wife ignites. Except Taliyah never expected the merciless king to challenge the future she once envisioned. She certainly never anticipated the thrill of their battles turning into games… The problem is, only one spouse can survive.
This is quite different from the other books on my list, but something about it just appeals to me!
Published by: Disney Hyperion on June 1, 2021
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
MAY THE HAZEL BRING YOU WISDOM AND THE ASPEN GUIDE AND PROTECT YOU...
Samantha Knox put away her childish fantasies of archaeological adventure the day her father didn't return home from the Great War, retreating to the safety of the antique bookshop where she works. But when a mysterious package arrives with a damaged diary inside, Sam's peaceful life is obliterated. Ruthless men intent on reclaiming the diary are after Sam, setting her and her best friend, along with her childhood crush, on a high-stakes adventure that lands them in the green hills outside Dublin, Ireland. Here they discover an ancient order with a dark purpose — to perform an occult ritual that will raise the Specter Queen, the Celtic goddess of vengeance and death, to bring about a war unlike any the world has ever seen. To stop them, Sam must solve a deviously complex cipher — one that will lead her on a treasure hunt to discover the ancient relic at the heart of the ritual: a bowl carved from the tree of life.
Will she find the bowl and stop the curse of the Specter Queen, or will the ancient order bring about the end of the world?
Indiana Jones gets a refresh with this female-driven mystery adventure, set in the 1920s, full of ciphers, ancient relics, and heart-stopping action - the first in a brand-new series!
I’m dying for the cover reveal for this book! It’s like a female Indiana Jones!
Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers on June 8, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology
Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body into a weapon and her heart and mind into stone, in order to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But unrest throughout ancient Greece, and the goddess Artemis holding Daphne’s brother for ransom, upends her carefully laid plans.
In return for her brother’s life, Daphne must find and return nine mysterious items stolen from Mount Olympus before the gods’ power wanes and the mortal world is thrown into chaos. Her journey leads her into battle with foes from ancient Greek myths, a growing (and dangerous) attraction to the enigmatic and flirtatious god Apollo, who has a secret agenda of his own, and into the devious games of the gods themselves.
SPARTA!! Enough said.
Series: Shamanborn #2
Published by: Page Street on June 15, 2021
The sequel to the hotly-anticipated Forest of Souls, an epic and immersive tale of destiny and sisterhood. Perfect for fans of Susan Dennard, Sara J. Maas, and Netflix’s The Witcher!
The Soulless has woken from his hundred-year imprisonment. Now, he lurks in the Dead Wood recovering his power, while Sirscha and her allies journey west to the shaman empire of Nuvalyn. The whole world believes Sirscha is a soulguide―a savior―but Sirscha knows the truth. She’s a monster, a soulrender, just like the Soulless, and if anyone discovers the truth, she’ll be executed.
There’s nothing Sirscha won’t risk to stop the Soulless, since his magic created the rot that’s killing her best friend. While the Soulless is formidable, he’s still a shaman, which means his power must be channeled through a familiar. If Sirscha can discover what―or who―that is, she might be able to cut him off from his power.
But that's easier said than done with Queen Meilyr pursuing her imperialistic agenda. Sirscha finds herself caught between a war brewing in the north and the Soulless in the south. She should be uniting who she can to face their common enemies, but instead, Sirscha's hunt for clues about the Soulless leads to a grim discovery, forcing her to question who her enemies really are.
I can’t get over how amazing this series’s covers are. I spent half my time reading the first book just looking at the cover. (The story was amazing too!)
Published by: Solaris on June 22, 2021
The Emperor is dead. Long live the Empire.
General Bordan has a lifetime of duty and sacrifice behind him in the service of the Empire. But with rebellion brewing in the countryside, and assassins, thieves and politicians vying for power in the city, it is all Bordan can do to protect the heir to the throne.
Apprentice Magician Kyron is assigned to the late Emperor's honour guard escorting his body on the long road back to the capital. Mistrusted and feared by his own people, even a magician's power may fail when enemies emerge from the forests, for whoever is in control of the Emperor's body, controls the succession.
Seven lives and seven deaths to seal the fate of the Empire.
for whoever is in control of the Emperor’s body, controls the succession. (!!)
Series: Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #2
Published by: Tor Teen on July 6, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
The breathtaking sequel to The Princess Will Save You in the Kingdoms of Sand and Sky duology — a brilliantly-executed YA fantasy homage to The Princess Bride
To stay together forever, Princess Amarande and her stableboy love, Luca, must part: Amarande to reclaim her kingdom from usurpers, and Luca to raise a rebellion and find his destiny. Arrayed against them are all the players in the game of thrones for control over the continent of The Sand and Sky. Facing unspeakable betrayals, enemies hidden in the shadows, and insurmountable odds, their only hope is the power of true love...
Another awesome sequel! This is book two in a duology, so that will be the end of the series.
Series: Crown of Feathers #3
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books on July 13, 2021
In the heart-stopping finale to the Crown of Feathers trilogy, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable,” Veronyka must face her most devastating enemy yet: her own sister.
I had a sister, once…
Veronyka is no longer an orphaned stable boy or a nameless Phoenix Rider apprentice: she is the daughter of Pheronia Ashfire, the last queen of the Golden Empire…and the niece of Avalkyra Ashfire, the resurrected rebel queen who tore the empire apart.
We shone brightly, burned fiercely.
Now that the secret is out, everyone at the Eyrie treats Veronyka differently, and with Tristan still a hostage of the scheming Lord Rolan—and Sev with him as a spy—Veronyka feels very much alone. Except for her beloved phoenix, Xephyra, of course, and her new friend, Kade, who has his own reasons for wanting to save Tristan.
Was it always going to come down to this? Sister against sister? Darkness against light?
Veronyka is determined to do whatever it takes to get Tristan back, even if that means revealing her identity to the world and inheriting a throne she’s not sure she wants. But when she discovers that Avalkyra has bonded with a strix—a legendary creature of darkness that feeds off the life force of others—Veronyka realizes she has more to deal with than an encroaching war with the empire. Val is willing to destroy everything to get her revenge on a world that rejected her, and if Veronyka wants to bring peace to the empire and Pyra alike, she must face down her sister once and for all.
The world began with Ashfire queens…perhaps they will also be its destruction.
The third and final book in the Crown of Feathers series. I haven’t read book two yet, but I ADORED the first book. I’ve been waiting for the series to finish so I can read all three books back to back.
Published by: Ace Books on July 20, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
The Lady of Shalott reclaims her story in this bold feminist reimagining of the Arthurian myth from the New York Times bestselling author of Ash Princess.
Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come--for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.
On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends--countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.
When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.
As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate--and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.
Laura Sebastian is the author of Ash Princess, which I loooved. So I will read anything by her! This is her first adult fantasy book and it’s a feminist reimagining of the Arthurian myth.
Published by: Tor Books on July 20, 2021
Genre: Alternate History, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+
She'll change the world to survive her fate . . .
In Mongol-occupied imperial China, a peasant girl refuses her fate of an early death. Stealing her dead brother's identity to survive, she rises from monk to soldier, then to rebel commander. Zhu's pursuing the destiny her brother somehow failed to attain: greatness. But all the while, she feels Heaven is watching.
Can anyone fool Heaven indefinitely, escaping what's written in the stars? Or can Zhu claim her own future, burn all the rules and rise as high as she can dream?
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan is a re-imagining of the rise to power of Zhu Yuanzhang. Zhu was the peasant rebel who expelled the Mongols, unified China under native rule, and became the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
She Who Became the Sun is at the top of my list! I’m a little disappointed because I prefer the US cover (pictured above) over the UK cover… Which do you prefer?
Series: The Rise and Fall #1
Published by: Grim Oak Press on August 3, 2021
After two hundred years of service, the heir to the empire is suspicious about his reassignment to active duty on the front lines of the Goblin War. His first assignment to rescue an outpost leads to a dead-end canyon deep inside enemy territory. Suspicion turns to dread and then sinks to despair when it's discovered no such outpost exists. But whoever went to the trouble of making his death look like an accident didn't know anything about the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron he was assigned to. In the depths of an unforgiving jungle, a legend is about to be born, and the world of Elan will never be the same.
From Michael J. Sullivan, the New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post bestselling author, a new adventure begins with the first book of the Rise and Fall trilogy. While set in the same world as Riyria and Legends of the First Empire, this is a standalone series, so no prior knowledge of the other books is required to enjoy it to its fullest.
I haven’t read the other series—Legends of the First Empire—but it sounds like you can start with this one.
Series: Pact and Pattern #1
Published by: Gollancz on August 5, 2021
My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.
All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother's family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.
I can choose between them - between protecting my family, or protecting my people - or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by Empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.
But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves . . .
The first book in the Pact and Pattern series. Fans of Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn and R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War will love the magic running through every page.
This is another one high up on my list. I love the idea of the two divided parents, and their child that has to choose between them.
Series: Gargoyle Queen #1
Published by: Harper Voyager on August 5, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.
Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier-and a spy.
Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta-her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma's aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.
Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo's murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.
The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne ...
I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed. I read and loved the related series, Crown of Shards, but with the way it ended I assumed there would be a fourth book. Instead, this is the start of a spinoff series. So I’m disappointed that I won’t get closure to the previous series, but I will still check this one out.
Published by: Angry Robot on August 10, 2021
Genre: Action, Fantasy
When you are all out of heroes, all that's left are the villains.
Black Herran was a dread demonologist, and the most ruthless general in all Essoran. She assembled the six most fearsome warriors to captain her armies: a necromancer, a vampire lord, a demigod, an orcish warleader, a pirate queen, and a twisted alchemist. Together they brought the whole continent to its knees... Until the day she abandoned her army, on the eve of total victory.
40 years later, she must bring her former captains back together for one final stand, in the small town of Tarnbrooke - the last bastion against a fanatical new enemy tearing through the land, intent on finishing the job Black Herran started years before.
Seven bloodthirsty monsters. One town. Their last hope.
A dread demonologist bringing the band back together? Sign me up! In 2020 I read one of Cameron Johnston’s other books—The Traitor God—and really enjoyed it. The main character had crazy magical hair lol.
Series: The First Sister Trilogy #2
Published by: Skybound Books on August 24, 2021
Genre: LGBTQIA+, Science Fiction
Linden A. Lewis returns with this next installment of The First Sister Trilogy, perfect for fans of Red Rising, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Expanse.
Astrid has reclaimed her name and her voice, and now seeks to bring down the Sisterhood from within. Throwing herself into the lioness’ den, Astrid must confront and challenge the Aunts who run the Gean religious institution, but she quickly discovers that the business of politics is far deadlier than she ever expected.
Meanwhile, on an outlaw colony station deep in space, Hiro val Akira seeks to bring a dangerous ally into the rebellion. Whispers of a digital woman fuel Hiro’s search, but they are not the only person looking for this link to the mysterious race of Synthetics.
Lito sol Lucious continues to grow into his role as a lead revolutionary and is tasked with rescuing an Aster operative from deep within an Icarii prison. With danger around every corner, Lito, his partner Ofiera, and the newly freed operative must flee in order to keep dangerous secrets out of enemy hands.
Back on Venus, Lito’s sister Lucinia must carry on after her brother’s disappearance and accusation of treason by Icarii authorities. Despite being under the thumb of Souji val Akira, Lucinia manages to keep her nose clean…that is until an Aster revolutionary shows up with news about her brother’s fate, and an opportunity to join the fight.
This captivating, spellbinding second installment to The First Sister series picks up right where The First Sister left off and is a must-read for science fiction fans everywhere.
The First Sister was fabulous; I’ll be continuing with this series!
Series: Dragons of Terra #3
Published by: Tor Books on August 31, 2021
Genre: Dragons, Fantasy
I loved Blood of an Exile. I haven’t read the second book yet, but once the third one comes out I plan on reading them all back to back. This is a pretty interesting story because it explores what happens when dragons are a key part of the ecosystem and you start killing them off.
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on July 20, 2021
Genre: Fae, Fantasy
From New York Times best-selling author Lexi Ryan, Cruel Prince meets A Court of Thorns and Roses in this sexy, action-packed fantasy about a girl who is caught between two treacherous faerie courts and their dangerously seductive princes.
Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she'll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.
Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie's only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.
Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.
I actually hadn’t seen the cover of this one until I’d started putting this post together, and I love it!! The book has been on my watch list for a while now. I’m really into the whole fae court, royalty, romance combination.
Series: The Sun Chronicles #2
Published by: Head of Zeus on September 1, 2021
Genre: Science Fiction, Space
Non-stop action, space battles and intrigue abound in the second in a galactic-scale, gender-swapped space opera trilogy inspired by the life of Alexander The Great.
The Republic of Chaonia fleets under the joint command of Princess Sun and her formidable mother, Queen-Marshal Eirene, have defeated and driven out an invading fleet of the Phene Empire, although not without heavy losses. But the Empire remains strong and undeterred. While Chaonia scrambles to rebuild its military, the Empire's rulers are determined to squash Chaonia once and for all by any means necessary.
On the eve of Eirene's bold attack on the rich and populous Karnos System, an unexpected tragedy strikes the republic. Sun must take charge or lose the throne. Will Sun be content with the pragmatic path laid out by her mother for Chaonia's future? Or will she forge her own legend despite all the forces arrayed against her?
The sequel to Unconquerable Sun—a space opera inspired by Alexander The Great (but gender swapped!).
Series: All of Us Villains #1
Published by: Tor Teen on November 9, 2021
You Fell In Love With The Victors of The Hunger Games.
Now Prepare To Meet The Villains of The Blood Veil.
After the publication of a salacious tell-all book, the remote city of Ilvernath is thrust into worldwide spotlight. Tourists, protesters, and reporters flock to its spellshops and ruins to witness an ancient curse unfold: every generation, seven families name a champion among them to compete in a tournament to the death. The winner awards their family exclusive control over the city’s high magick supply, the most powerful resource in the world.
In the past, the villainous Lowes have won nearly every tournament, and their champion is prepared to continue his family’s reign. But this year, thanks to the influence of their newfound notoriety, each of the champions has a means to win. Or better yet--a chance to rewrite their story.
But this is a story that must be penned in blood.
Magic as a resource?!?!
Series: The Age of Darkness #3
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on September 21, 2021
It’s been a while since I read There Will Come a Darkness, but I remember loving it. I have book two already, waiting to be read. I’ll read the whole series when the third one finally comes out!
Published by: Roaring Brook Press on September 21, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction, Retelling
Seventeen-year-old Anna is running for her life. She barely escaped the massacre that killed her family, and now a relentless Red commander is after her to finish the job.
Sixteen-year-old Evgenia is poor and pissed off about it. And her Red soldier brother badly needs a doctor. Evgenia will do anything to raise the money — even selling a wagon ride to a spoiled bourgeois girl who’s hiding secrets.
As the girls flee across the war-torn Russian countryside, they find more in common than their prejudices led them to expect. To survive, Anna must trust a revolutionary who wants to destroy her world. And Evgenia must decide whether the life of her new friend is worth more than the change she so passionately believes in.
This is an Anastasia retelling!
Series: Burningblade & Silvereye #2
Published by: Head of Zeus on October 7, 2021
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, two siblings discover that not even ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.
Four hundred years ago, a cataclysmic war cracked the world open and exterminated the Elder races. Amid the ashes, their human inheritor, the Dawn Republic, stands guard over lands littered with eldritch relics and cursed by plaguespawn outbreaks. But a new conflict is looming and brother and sister Maya and Gyre have found themselves on opposite sides.
At the age of five, Maya was taken by the Twilight Order and trained to be a centarch, wielding forbidden arcana to enforce the Dawn Republic's rule. On that day, her brother, Gyre, swore to destroy the Order that stole his sister... whatever the cost.
Twelve years later, brother and sister are two very different people: she is Burningblade, the Twilight Order's brightest prodigy; he is Silvereye, thief, bandit, revolutionary.
Another Django Wexler! I finished the first book, Ashes of the Sun, only a couple weeks ago. It’s very Star Wars-esque, but if you had one sibling fighting for the Jedi and the other fighting for the Empire. Whoopsies!
Series: Royal Houses #2
Published by: Self Published on October 12, 2021
Genre: Dragons, Fae, Fantasy
USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde returns to the Royal Houses series with House of Shadows: the story of Kerrigan Argon, a half-Fae, half-human, as she seeks her place in an unforgiving world filled with magic, mayhem, and romance. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, and V.E. Schwab.
Kerrigan Argon, a half-human, half-fae, has joined the Dragon Society against almost everyone’s wishes.
A year of training is required with her dragon.
First she must travel with the dark Fae prince, Fordham Ollivier, back to his home in the House of Shadows. Nothing but slavery and death has ever awaited a half-fae in their halls.
But something is wrong within their wicked world. A thousand year old spell is weakening. Cracks forming in the foundation. And Kerrigan may just be their ruin or their salvation.
Funny story about this one. Years ago I read one of K.A. Linde’s contemporary romances and HATED it. I gave it a scathing review. So picking up House of Dragons was a bit of a risk, but damn it was good! Fae vs humans, a main character who’s half of each, plus dragons. A reminder that you may not want to write off an author entirely because of one bad book.
Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #2
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton on October 26, 2021
Genre: Demons, Paranormal
The thrilling and devastating sequel to Kingdom of the Wicked, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stalking Jack the Ripper.
Kingdom of the Wicked was a lot of fun, and it ended in such a way that has me pretty damn psyched for the sequel!
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
In order to save her grandmother from a cult of dangerous priests, a peasant girl cursed with the power to steal souls enters a tenuous alliance with an exiled prince bent on taking back the Dragon Throne. The pair must learn to trust each other but are haunted by their pasts—and the true nature of her dark magic.
Told in a dual pov narrative reminiscent of EMBER IN THE ASHES, JADE FIRE GOLD is a YA fantasy is inspired by East Asian mythology and folk tales. Epic in scope but intimate in characterization, fans of classic fantasies by Tamora Pierce and the magical Asiatic setting of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER will enjoy this cinematic tale of family, revenge, and forgiveness.
East Asian mythology and folk tales!
Series: These Violent Delights #2
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton on November 16, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling
The heartstopping follow up to These Violent Ends, an imaginative, alluring retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai.
These Violent Delights was one of my 2020 favourites!
Phew that’s quite a list! Which books are you most looking forward to?